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Baldwin Park Unified Board of Education Names 2016-17 Officers

The Governing Board of Education held its annual organization meeting on Dec. 6, selecting Christina Lucero as president for a second consecutive term. Teresa I. Vargas will serve as clerk/vice president, succeeding Board Member Carlos Lopez. Board Member Santos Hernandez, Jr. continues in his second year as a member. A brief reception was held to honor outgoing Board Member Blanca Estela Rubio, who was elected in November to the California State Assembly and officially announced her resignation from the Board. The Board will proceed with the process for a provisional appointment to select a new member by Feb. 13.

Baldwin Park Unified Taxpayers See First Savings from Bond Refinancing

Baldwin Park Unified property owners saw their first savings on December’s tax bill from the District’s refinancing of $74.8 million in facility bonds, a decline in the tax rate of $57.78 per $100,000 in assessed valuation over 2015-16. The savings, which take advantage of a drop in interest rates, add up to $20.8 million over 21 years. The refinancing lowers the 2016-17 repayment costs for the bonds to $105.10 per $100,000 in assessed value. Rates can fluctuate year to year until the bonds are repaid in 2037.

Baldwin Park Unified Students Engage in Annual Hour of Code

Two Baldwin Park Unified schools explored computer science this week as they learned coding through the annual Hour of Code, a global movement that reaches millions of students in more than 180 countries. Central Elementary, which pioneered the effort for Baldwin Park in 2015, engaged all of its 508 students during events spread across the week. Students coded in the school’s computer labs from 8:10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. daily. About 125 Vineland Elementary students in second through sixth grades also took part in the event. Teachers at the school used the program to reward hardworking students in each classroom, those who have shown the most growth academically or socially. The event was held for an hour each day.

Baldwin Park Unified High School Student Shines Despite Adversity

Gabriela Flores, a senior at Baldwin Park Unified's North Park Continuation High School, has grappled with poverty, homelessness and even her mother’s deportation, all without faltering in her pursuit of a diploma. Now, she is poised to graduate early with a strong academic record and perfect attendance.
For her resiliency in the face of adversity, Flores, 17, has received an Every Student Succeeding Scholarship from the Southern California chapter of the Association of California School Administrators. The 24, $100 scholarships, awarded in November at the Huntington Library, honor students who exceed expectations.

Baldwin Park Unified Elementary Students Bring Creativity to County Animal Shelters

Students at Baldwin Park Unified’s Bursch Elementary School created artwork on Dec. 12 and 13 to beautify Los Angeles County animal shelters during the first stage in a national campaign launched by nonprofit Portraits of Hope to promote pet adoptions. Students painted wooden cutouts of animals and abstract images to decorate the shelters. Bursch is one of just two Los Angeles area schools participating in the program thus far.

Baldwin Park Unified Elementary Doubles Donations for Christmas Food Basket Program

Baldwin Park Unified’s Central Elementary School once again topped all city schools in collecting canned goods for the City of Baldwin Park’s annual Christmas Food Basket Program, which provided the food to residents. Central collected 5,260 cans during the effort. The figure – nearly double the number raised in 2015 – may stem from a competition created by student leaders that awarded the top class in each grade with playground equipment and the top students with a special lunch with the principal. Other participating schools are De Anza, Elwin, Foster, Geddes, Heath and Walnut elementary schools, Holland and Olive middle schools, and Jones and Sierra Vista junior high schools.

Baldwin Park Unified Names 7 Red Ribbon Week Poster Winners

Seven Baldwin Park Unified students received certificates and a teddy bears at the Board of Education meeting on Nov. 8 for winning the District’s 2016 Red Ribbon Week Poster Contest. The winners are Josiah Fabian, a first-grader at Elwin Elementary School; Dominic Garcia, a Pre-K student at Walnut Elementary Head Start; Samantha Rodriguez, a second-grader from Elwin Elementary; Kailey Tapia Vilches, a fifth-grader at Tracy Elementary School; Dulce Herrera, a sixth-grader at Margaret Health Elementary School; David Soto Garcia, a sixth-grader at Santa Fe Elementary School; and Caitlyn Miras, a sophomore at Sierra Vista High School.

Baldwin Park Unified High School Unveils $175,000 High-Tech Library

Baldwin Park Unified educators on Thursday unveiled a $175,000 transformation of Sierra Vista High School’s library that features five tech-infused project centers and other upgrades that foster student collaboration. Already, the changes have prompted a surge in library use, with an expanded cadre of librarians regularly hosting as many as 80 students until the facility closes at 5 p.m. The project is designed to be the first in a series of library makeovers that will provide students with state-of-the-art tools. Foremost among the changes are the project centers, including two located in private study chambers. Each center includes a flat-screen TV that can link to laptops via Bluetooth, wheeled chairs and upgraded Wi-Fi. The private rooms feature stereo sound systems.

Baldwin Park Unified Elementary School Lauded as Model of Success

Leaders of the No Excuses University (NEU) movement are hailing Kenmore Elementary School as sterling example of success, specifically lauding the school’s approach to helping English learners become fluent. The Baldwin Park Unified campus is cited as one of six stellar schools in the college-readiness program’s 2016 annual report, released in conjunction with an annual convention held Oct. 20-21. Kenmore, part of NEU’s network since 2009, runs a literacy integration program that draws on a tool called Thinking Maps and a companion writing program called Write from the Beginning and Beyond. The tools also were instrumental in the school’s recognition as a 2016 California Gold Ribbon School.
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